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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Duval County needs mentors

January is designated as National Mentoring Month. This month highlights mentoring and the positive impact these volunteers can have on young lives.

During this month, Duval County Public Schools' honors individuals who have chosen to become mentors to our youth and recognizes them for making the future brighter for our young people. Being a mentor is easy: You just need to be able to listen and to offer friendship, guidance and encouragement to a young person on a consistent basis.

While National Mentoring Month brings national attention to the benefit of and the need for mentors, locally, it is critical that we recruit mentors to help attain our goal of increasing academic achievement for all Duval County Public Schools' students. Our whole community - individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith-based communities and nonprofits - must work together to increase the number of mentors and assure a more successful future for our young people. Our strategic goal is 20,000 mentors by 2020. Help us reach this goal for our students.

According to research, when students have mentors they have better attendance, a better chance of going on to higher education and better attitudes toward school.

It's proven that the positive influence of role models can have a lasting impact. Program evaluation results show that after one year of being matched with a mentor, students:

Show a significant increase in their future orientation
Are more committed to living a drug and alcohol-free life
Show greater attachment to their family, friends and other adults
Show an increase in self-esteem
To learn how you can become a mentor, contact our Community and Family Engagement Department at 390-2960.

Ed Pratt-Dannals

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